Monday, April 29, 2013
Booker, Jackson fire away at Va. EYBL
By Paul Biancardi and John Stovall
HAMPTON, Va. -- The second of four Nike EYBL sessions was held at the Boo Williams complex this past weekend, and it was another talent-packed outstanding event. The intensity was consistent throughout the weekend and there are more players emerging at all different levels from this strong field.
And the glut of shooters like Devin Booker and Justin Jackson took the event to another level. Here’s a breakdown of the players who made noise at the star-studded event.
Few shooters can fill it up like 2014 SG Devin Booker.
Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point)
2014 6-5, 185, SG
Travel team: Alabama Challenge
Schools: Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan State, Michigan, Florida, Stanford, Arkansas and Missouri.
Booker has the size you crave in a shooting guard and a clean and accurate stroke with range well beyond the college arc. The high release point of his shot creates a nice trajectory and makes it hard for defenders to contest. He makes jumpers from deep but also from inside the arc, both off the catch and from one or two dribbles to pull-up with balance. Booker plays the back line in his team’s zone defense, will rebound and ignite the transition game in the middle of the floor. His touch allows him a green light at any time, but he doesn’t force shots and is an extremely confident shooter.
Dion Wiley (Oxon, Md./Potomac)
2014 6-4, 195, SG
Travel team: Team Takeover
Schools: Cincinnati, Florida, Miami, Maryland, Texas and Georgetown; interest from Syracuse and others.
Many high-level scorers at this level are actually volume shooters, but not Wiley. The efficient wing reads the flow of each possession and makes his move with good instincts. His size for the position helps him see the rim clearly as he possesses NBA distance on his jumper. He understands the game and how to get open as he hit numerous 3-pointers coming off screens or on the move. He is not all about perimeter jumper; his craftiness on his drives and finish along with a solid pull-up allow him to score in several other fashions. Most elite scorers don’t pass all that much or all that well, but Wiley has a knack for making the extra pass stemming from his pass as he plays some at the point in high school. He needs to concentrate and give more energy to the defensive end each possession to maximize his potential.
Justin Jackson (Houston, Texas/HCYA)
2014, 6-8, 185, SF
Travel team: Houston Hoops
Committed to UNC The master of the midrange jumper, this future Tar Heel is a slender wing with a pure stroke. Jackson easily makes 3-pointers from a stationary position or on the run but where he truly separates himself is his understanding to get one or two dribbles closer to the basket and nail difficult shots. As one of the better shooters in the rising senior class, he is comfortable and certain his jumper is money from just about any spot on the floor. Jackson is someone the opposition always has to guard.
Trey Ferguson (Dallas/Prime Prep)
2016 6-5, 170, SG
Travel team: Texas Pro
His shots from deep are the most impressive aspect of this young man’s game. Whether it’s a transition jumper or a spot-up jumper off a screen, Ferguson launches from deep and makes his opponents pay. Ferguson always has one eye on the rim, ready to shoot it. There were several broken plays where he would receive the ball wide open and not hesitate to pull the trigger. To grow as a total player his ball handing, passing and defense needs attention.
Best Rim Protectors
Joniah White (Madison, Miss./Madison Central)
2014, 6-11, 220, C
Travel team: Jackson Tigers
White is a thin but active post with a soft touch on his free throws. This lefty rebounds on defense, runs the floor and will set a drag screen in transition or slip to the basket for an easy deuce. He stays inside the lane to score on offensive rebounds or little hook shots. Defensively, he really changes and alter shots with his long thin frame and reach. He’s not always intimidating at the rim, but he’s effective with his ability to take a driver’s vision away on his contests. White’s body is years away but coordination, instincts and touch is good and developing right now.
Skal Labissiere, a native of Haiti, is a shot-blocking beast and has an improving post game.
Skal Labissiere (Memphis/Evangelical Christian)
2015, 6-9, 200, C
Travel Team: Team Penny
Schools: Memphis, Kentucky, Kansas, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgetown, among others.
A native of Haiti, Labissiere is a shot-blocking stud with enormous length and timing. But what is most impressive is his willingness to challenge as many shots as possible for a young post. His rebounding game is steady as he grabs misses with two hands or tips the ball to himself first before securing the ball. He has a surprisingly soft touch for a player his age and can hit the face-up jumper from the elbows. He shot 69 percent from the field because he stays in the lane.
Reid Travis (Minneapolis, Minn./DeLaSalle)
2014, 6-7, 230, PF
Travel Team: Howard Pulley
Travis is a double-double threat every time he hits the floor. He is a true warrior in the paint and knows how to score on the low block or face-up out to 17 feet. He may be a little undersized but he knows how to get it done on the boards. Travis along with PG Tyus Jones give Pulley one of the best 1-2 punches in the Nike EYBL.
Robert Johnson (Richmond, Va./ Benedictine)
2014 6-3, 190, SG
Travel team: Boo Williams
Schools: VCU, Old Dominion, Richmond, East Carolina have offered, while Wake Forest, Villanova and UVA have shown interest.
The more you watch Johnson’s game, the more you appreciate his productively and overall demeanor during the game. He has a scorer’s mentality, making shots from the perimeter as well as driving to the basket with good balance. His passes are simple yet, very effective, as he does not look to force shots or passes. As the game enters crunch time, he brings a steadiness and cohesion to his team so they can finish off the game in a winning fashion.
Zach Brown (Houston/South Kent CT)
2014 6-7, 180, SF
Travel team: Team Texas
Schools: SMU, Wichita State, Texas, Houston Providence and Creighton.
His versatility makes him such a promising prospect as he can defend multiple positions from the 1 through the 4. He could be a matchup advantage on offense if a team wanted to play small and use him at the power forward spot. There, he could score easily with his speed and attacking nature and hold his own on the glass.
James Palmer (Upper Marlboro, Md./Saint John’s College)
2014 6-3, 170, SG
Travel team: Team Takeover
Schools: Radford, Rutgers, Towson and Saint Joseph’s have offered; Temple, Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgetown and Indiana have interest.
He may not pass the eye test but don’t let that fool you as his skills and instincts make him a player ready to contribute. He played last year on Takeover’s B team but has worked his way onto the A team. At this stage, he is well-rounded as his passing skills are sharp and his ability to make shots are timely. Defensively he is not strong enough to guard others off the bounce but he does pick up steals when opponents aren’t careful.
Terry Larrier (Bronx/Phelps)
2014, 6-7, 190, SF/PF
Travel Team: Team Scan
Terry is a long, tall and extremely skilled combo forward. He may be best suited at the 4 but he could very well play the 3 in the right system. He is somewhat of an unknown commodity in that he is beginning to get high major interest from around the East and Midwest.
On The Rise
Jamal Murray (Kitchner, Ont./Grand River)
2016, 6-3, 170, PG/SG
Travel Team: CIA Bounce
If and when this young stud comes to the United States for high school, he will blow up on the recruiting scene. Murray is a combo guard who can do it all. He plays up in the 16U bracket and is a dominant talent there. He is an above-average athlete who can shoot it out to 22 feet, has solid handle and is a good passer. Jamal could be a star in the very near future.
Best Underclassman Scorers
Keelon Lawson (Memphis/Hamilton)
2015, 6-6, 200, SF
Travel Team: Team Penny
Lawson is one of those players who just knows how to put the ball in the basket. Most of his damage comes inside 17 feet but he can step out and shoot from the perimeter. Lawson is a solid athlete and a good rebounder for his position but it's his ability to change the scoreboard that will attract the most attention.
Malik Newman (Jackson, Miss./Callaway)
2015, 6-2, 180, SG
Travel team: Jackson Tigers
Newman is one of the best scoring guards in the entire class. He attacks the basket frequently and stays aggressive throughout the contest. He can score in the paint with power and body control as well as pull it from deep. He gets to spots on the floor with speed and power off the bounce and shows a midrange pull-up to complement his long-range shooting. Newman is strong in ball screen actions as he will recognize a defender going under a screen and make him pay by knocking down the jumper. He is currently leading the EYBL in scoring at 23 points a game but must learn to be a more efficient player.
Isaiah Briscoe (Union, N.J./St. Benedict’s Prep)
2015 6-3, 205, SG
Travel team: NJ Playaz
Briscoe dropped 34 points in his opening game and did it within the flow of the action. He was just on a tear all weekend, making jumpers from different spots on the floor whether open or contested. He is playing both guard spots but needs to improve his decision-making abilities. As his role is changing from an up-and-comer to a key player, it was great to see mental improvement throughout the weekend.
Best Frontcourt Underclassman
Chiek Diallo (Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior)
2015, 6-8, 205, PF
Travel Team: Team Scan
Schools: Pittsburgh, Syracuse, St. John’s, Arizona, Villanova, UConn, Iowa State, Providence, Texas and Oregon have offered; Kentucky, Ohio State and Louisville are showing interest.
Diallo is an active rebounder and shot-blocker. He is a little more skilled than you may think and is a capable scorer in the lane. Diallo is becoming one of the better big men in the 2015 class nationally, using his unstoppable motor to be productive through the first 2 weeks of the Nike EYBL.